Samuel Fleischacker

in Divine Teaching and the Way of the World

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199217366
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728495 | DOI:

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In addition to prescriptions, moral philosophers provide accounts of moral motivation. This chapter suggests that adequate moral motivation can be found in secular sources, endorsing in particular David Hume’s famous response to the “sensible knave” who supposes that there might be good reason to violate moral norms on occasion. (A Kantian element is, however, added to Hume’s account.) The chapter concedes that religious principles can sometimes enhance a person’s commitment to morality, but argues that those principles need to be grafted onto the secular reasons we also have for being moral. One’s love of God must for instance increase one’s love for humanity, rather than conflicting with it, else one’s religion may lead to terrorism rather than to morally admirable behavior.

Keywords: Hume; Kant; sensible knave; motivation; fear of God; love of God

Chapter.  6228 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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